Meet Tanya Sokolova – a 13 year-old teenager from Alchevk in the Lugansk region of Ukraine. Tanya, together with her mother Kateryna and faithful dog Bonny, was displaced as a result of the fighting in the East of Ukraine and now lives in a temporary shelter in Odessa. Kateryna is currently attending hairdressing school in the hope of finding work to meet their daily living expenses. Finding employment for those displaced as the result of the fighting is difficult since often they are not sure of where they will be living from one day to the next.
Tanya suffers from cerebral palsy – a condition which severely impairs movement, muscular activity and co-ordination. Nevertheless she has a heart-warming smile and a great zest for life. Tanya never lets her impairment stop her from doing the things she enjoys most – singing, writing, listening to music and bead weaving. Tanya is determined to walk one day and recently achieved a major milestone in managing to walk to the toilet with only the assistance of the corridor walls.
Tanya currently attends a special needs school and dreams of becoming a singer or a writer. During the conflict she wrote the following message on the Ukrainian flag which was sent to the Ukrainian soldiers:
“Ukraina – tse sylna kraina,
Ukraina – tse volya lyudei.
Shana, podyaka biitsyam Ukrainy,
Yaki voyuyut za nas za ditei. “
[Ukraine is a strong country,
Ukraine is the will of its people.
Respect and thank you to Ukraine’s soldiers
Who are fighting for us – the children.]
In order to assist Tanya in achieving her dream of walking and attaining a better quality of life she needs help with the following:
- Rehabilitation treatment to help relieve symptoms and provide a greater sense of independence and self-esteem. This includes physical therapy and medication to help relieve muscle stiffness and spasms.
- Footwear (size 38) – due to her condition Tanya’s shoes are constantly wearing as her feet drag across the ground.
Update – May 2016: Since the last update Tanya’s condition has seriously deteriorated. Tanya’s rapid growth rate has resulted in increased muscle spasms and stiffness; and her movement and mobility have become severely impaired. Tanya requires laser surgery on her feet, arms and hip joints to restore her mobility and relieve the symptoms. She is scheduled to see a doctor in Zhytomyr on 20th May 20 for the confirmation of a surgery date.
Tanya’s mother, Kateryna, has managed to gather the necessary funds for the surgery herself but she needs financial help for the post-operative rehabilitation. The surgery will leave Tanya in a plaster cast for over a month during which time she will suffer significant muscle atrophy and require intensive physical therapy.
Kateryna has run out of choices and does not know where to go or who to ask for help. Tanya will need to travel to the Kozyavkin Rehabilitation centre in Truskavec. The rehabilitation treatment will take two weeks and will cost approximately 8,000 Ukrainian hrynyas, with accommodation and food a further 3,000 hryvnyas. In total, they need 11,000 hryvnyas or the equivalent of £300. All receipts and reports on Tanya’s progress will be provided.
Latest Update – June 2016: Tanya had her operation on 7th June and is now recovering at home. She’s learning to stand again and can now do this for over a minute without anyone supporting her. Tanya’s rehabilitation is extremely important to her; it has already been booked for 11th July. On behalf of Tanya and her mother, British-Ukrainian Aid would like to thank Tanya’s supporters for making this happen and for choosing to make a difference in Tanya’s life!